Jan. 19, 2016 | For three weeks in 1974, Werner Herzog trekked from Munich to Paris. "Walking on foot brings you down to the very stark, naked core of existence"... more »


Jan. 18, 2016 | Since Clive James learned he had terminal leukemia, he's released six books, all reckoning with death. His latest is the most important... more »


Jan. 16, 2016 | Christopher Hitchens could be pompous, arrogant, and bellicose. He could also be hilarious: a cross between loquacious barfly and literary artist... more »


Jan. 15, 2016 | The British haven't always had that stiff upper lip. Not so long ago, the nation would sob at every opportunity... more »


Jan. 14, 2016 | “I have never cared for Thomas Mann’s way of walking on water,” said Joseph Roth. His own approach was, “How many words, by when, and how much?”... more »


Jan. 13, 2016 | Universities were once places of unfettered inquiry. But already in Prof. Nietzsche's day, a new belief was on the rise: That intellectual life is no longer its own justification... more »


Jan. 12, 2016 | Are there still new ways of writing the short story, or have we exhausted the form?... more »


Jan. 11, 2016 | When Isaiah Berlin suggested that Herman Wouk write a memoir, Wouk's wife protested: "Dear, you’re not that interesting a person.” Turns out she was right... more »


Jan. 9, 2016 | Vermeer left three dozen paintings but no drawings, letters, or accounts of his working methods, including any use of a camera obscura... more »


Jan. 8, 2016 | Michael Dirda is a writer. But in a truer sense, he is Bookman: a cheerleader for the old, the neglected, the marginalized... more »


Jan. 7, 2016 | We might think of magic as medieval, but its impulse permeates our own society. Consider modern physics or economic theory, suggests Rowan Williams... more »


Jan. 6, 2016 | Our digital lives in the social media make us four-dimensional beings. But is the “everywhereness” of virtual reality bleeding away our presence?... more »


Jan. 5, 2016 | When we’re sick, writing can help. But the illness memoir only occasionally rises to the level of literature. What was it about Audre Lorde, Susan Sontag, Oliver Sacks?... more »


Jan. 4, 2016 | Sex, violence, music: Frank Sinatra's life has been copiously documented. But when will his biographers move beyond uncritical adulation?... more »


Jan. 2, 2016 | Matt Ridley to pessimists: Relax, everything will eventually work itself out for the better, thanks to free markets and the evolution of ideas... more »


Jan. 1, 2016 | What draws us back, time and time again, to Augustine? Perhaps his frankness about descending into a “seething cauldron of lust”... more »


Dec. 31, 2015 | The Lord of the Rings, the country-house novel, the Mars bar. A culture curiously both high and low shapes the British national imagination... more »


Dec. 30, 2015 | Polyglot, erudite, dead at 48, Shahab Ahmed was a scholar of Islam. But he had contempt for the field of Islamic studies... more »


Dec. 29, 2015 | We read as detective-critics, uncovering meaning in the text. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Consider the limits of critique... more »


Dec. 28, 2015 | Much used — and abused — but little understood, realpolitik is about not only the art of the possible but also the messiness of politics... more »


Dec. 26, 2015 | Beethoven was full of noble aspiration: The Fifth Symphony makes everything seem possible. But applied to his personal life, it led to disaster... more »


Dec. 25, 2015 | Chimen Abramsky made room in his London home for 20,000 volumes, including first editions by Spinoza and Marx. Meet one of the 20th
century’s great bibliophiles... more »


Dec. 24, 2015 | Harry Frankfurt insists that his abstract, philosophical ruminations on inequality have no relevance to social or
political policy. Bullshit... more »


Dec. 23, 2015 | Ted Hughes believed that poetry originates from injury: The deeper the wound, the better the art. Yet some of his best poetry predates his worst wounds... more »


Dec. 22, 2015 | When biographies exonerate. Publication of an extremely charitable biography of Ezra Pound underscores a turn toward moral relativism in the genre... more »


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